I’m seventeen years old, and three of my closest friends have been sexually assaulted, I’ve heard stories of dozens of other girls in my year who have also been sexually assaulted and I do not know a single girl my age who hasn’t been sexually harassed. These things seem to be so normalised growing up as a teenage girl, with rumours circulating about the girl who was drunkenly pressured into giving someone a blowjob, or even laughing about the time that someone shouted ‘big tits’ at you in the street. So normalised that we overlook how deeply flawed a society that accepts these things to be almost a ‘rite of passage’ really is.
When discussing this with friends, we realised that the root cause of this was actually pretty complex, consisting of a brilliant mix of toxic masculinity, the differences in how boys and girls are raised, and most importantly the severe lack of sufficient sex and relationships education. Whilst sex education in the UK is compulsory for everybody over the age of eleven, it’s content is severely lacking. Obviously I cannot speak for every school, but my experience, and the experiences of my friends from different schools, with sex education was incredibly basic, only consisting of a “here’s how to not get pregnant or contract an STI” lecture with absolutely no mention of healthy relationships, same-sex sex and relationships or consent. Of
In the UK approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year. I believe that educating teenagers effectively on consent and healthy relationships could significantly reduce these statistics, especially by addressing the hundreds of misconceptions surrounding rape and sexual assault. A third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped (Amnesty, 2005), a horrific misconception, yet an understandable one when you consider that rape education is not taught
Education is vital and could prevent rapists from walking free, the ‘blurred lines’ when it comes to consent and rape and sexual